View Full Version : Simons first GT song
02-15-2003, 07:00 PM
Id love to know what everyone thinks of this! This is my fist time so, please be gentle with me!!
[Edited by Dr_simon on 02-15-2003 at 07:26 PM]
02-15-2003, 08:04 PM
I didn't like Newmoon as much. "dreaming" I really like that one. I like the singer, I think the lyrics are good, and the singing with the backup singing goes well. The riffs are cool too. Very good song.
02-15-2003, 08:18 PM
I find the overall sound of "Newmoon" a bit busy, but that's due to a qualitative predilection on my part. And most of the music I hear these days has that updated 'wall of sound' thing going on. I really enjoyed the fact that the lyrics can be heard, particularly in "Dreaming". As far as the recording goes, if I heard either song on the radio, I wouldn't question that it was done in a pro studio!
P.S. I do like the new, improved sign-off! :)
02-16-2003, 12:48 PM
I think it was a very good production and song. I listened to dreaming and I thought it was really cool. :)
Trendkilla does have a good point though, the drums and bass may be pushed alittle too far back. I can see that's the effect you were going for. The bass and the main vocals are all centered in the mix. Which is almost necassary for a good mix, except maybe the Beatles. You also got the main guitar there too. Which is all kool too cause that's the mix you were going for, but the one big thing I think it was missing is. Everything else was either Far-left or Far-right. It was missing the mid points, which to me makes the over-all or full body spectrum of sound not fully used.
If I may make a suggestion. I would bring the snare and bass drum alittle closer to center. Id center the bass drum because it works better in the center. Since you got the guitar in the center, I wouldn't change that cause that's kool. I would move the snare alittle closer to center so it's in between the bass drum and hi-hat. This will dramatically improve the sense of the snare drum in the mix. Also, I would move the bass guitar alittle to the left so it's sort of mid left, this will give you more freedom of EQ between the bass drum, bass guitar, and guitar (sometimes a problem cause they have the same good frequency points). Since your going for sort of a left to right music (mix) flow, this will help that sense alittle more. Plus give each individual instrument alittle more room in the spectrum and close those mid gaps that are there now.
Also a second option, switching the bass guitar and bass drum would be kool too I think. Have the bass guitar in the center, and the bass drum mid left. This will produce an even more left to right mix impression. For the drum beat will move left to right, because the beat is bass then snare. So it would be mid-left to mid-right for the beat. I think that would be awesome.
02-16-2003, 02:02 PM
Thank you all, Lots of stuff I had never even thought of !!!
I did the drums on an electronic kit which is L and R into the recorder and I have had the devils own job getting enough kick and snare relative to the Hi-Hat however it looks like I need to get deeper into both drumming and how the electronic kit works so I can sort out a better spatial mix !
More time spent on bass also !
I was really happy to see that people liked the vocals. They have been double tracked and are in deep over-dub land (though each track was eventually done in one take). I thought they were the weakest part however I think I will move my focus over to tightening up the bass and drums!
Did you get what Newmoon was about... Its the book "The Hobbit". Thought that might appeal to Lordathestrings !
02-16-2003, 03:22 PM
Simon, I know what you mean man. Recording drums with only 2 tracks is a hefty task. I know cause I've been through the same thing, but you pulled it off very well I must say. Try this since this is your case.
First record a dummy drum track, so when you record the other instruments they have something to follow. Record everything else and get a nice EQ and mix, then record the drums again and do everything you need to do with them (EQ and Pan) to make them fit better with the other instruments. It's a rough job, but it will save you from the tedious work of leveling everything first. And then finding out it didn't work once you recorded everything else over the drums.
It's not the perfect solution, but in your case it should save you some time and also produce quicker and better results. I recommend recording each drum on a seperate track just so you have absolute control over everything when you do a final mix.
The vocals and guitar were really good. The low end on the bass was perfect, try adding alittle more EQ at around 800hz so you hear the notes(pitches) just alittle better. Also a very slight boost between 3-5k so you can hear the rhythm alittle better. Just stay away from 200hz, and actually if you can cut here 2 or 4 dec. This will bring out alittle more clarity on your low end.
I'm going to listen to "newmoon", I dig LOTR too.
02-16-2003, 06:21 PM
3-5 KHz was a problem in the mix and boosting it brought out much sibilance, even using a de-esser ! You can hear what I mean when listening to the double tracking on the main vocal, the esses at the end of sibilant phrases are at slightly different times (Dooooh !). In the future Im going to have a go at recording the vocals onto analogue tape rather than going straight to digital via a Tascam 424 Mk III which I can sync to the Korg. This should make the whole vocal thing a lot easier and will then allow me some more flexibility with the final mix. I will still check out your suggestions as Im still a little fuzzy on what sound maps to which frequency range and as ever all constructive advice is welcome !
02-16-2003, 06:53 PM
So, for the vocals on "dreaming" its one person overdubbed? I think thats a cool effect. Once again very nice vocals and love the guitar.
I relistened to "newmoon", the vocals sound like a Blind Gaurdian song. I also noticed the vocals were not as strong as is "dreaming". The electric guitar seems to sound the same as in "dreaming", only in a few parts.
Either way, both songs are good.
02-16-2003, 08:09 PM
Originally posted by Dr_simon
3-5 KHz was a problem in the mix and boosting it brought out much sibilance, even using a de-esser ! You can hear what I mean when listening to the double tracking on the main vocal, the esses at the end of sibilant phrases are at slightly different times (Dooooh !).
Yeah, I know exactly what you mean. It's a tough range to work with, but if it is balanced correctly this range will give the music a sense of excitement. Too much and well you getting that horrible lispy sound as you said. You definitely want to boost this range for vocals, but slightly. I wouldn't boost it to max cause a lot of instruments need a treatment in this range. A good EQ mix is a good balance between the frequencies of all the instruments. You donít want to neglect a frequency anymore than you want to boost it too much. Definitely this frequency.
Originally posted by Dr_simon
In the future Iím going to have a go at recording the vocals onto analogue tape rather than going straight to digital via a Tascam 424 Mk III which I can sync to the Korg.
I don't know your situation all that well, but your vocal production is amazing. I actually meant to ask in my previous post some tips on how you got it sounding that good. But anyways, I'd check the quality your going to get from the analogue tape before switching. If too much quality is lost, I wouldn't do it; instead use it for less dominant instruments, like bass and maybe backing vocals.
I believe and I've read a lot that the vocals make the mix. If you get the vocals to sound great, everything else should just slide into place. My experience has showed me this is true. Actually when I do my final mix, the vocals are the first thing I do. Everything backs up the vocals anyways, so it sounds logical. Make vocals sound great, then make everything fit in with the vocals. A very good approach to mixing and most of the time itís produces a great over-all mix.
Originally posted by Dr_simon
I will still check out your suggestions as Im still a little fuzzy on what sound maps to which frequency range and as ever all constructive advice is welcome !
This primarily depends on the instruments. There is not a perfect spot for a certain sound, what there are is target frequencies. Which is a rough idea of what range to start with to bring out a certain quality in the instrument. Most of the time you will have to search around these frequencies to find the exact sound you are looking for.
30 - 100hz : these are the sub bass frequencies. The extreme low-end, around 60hz is the "woof" sound. I usually shelf the low end of the bass guitar here, and probably all the way up to around 150hz. All the low bass notes are in this range.
100hz - Very important frequency especially for the bass drum. This is where the pounding and the sense of pushing air is located. Boost the bass drum here to get the sense of the kick drum punching you in the chest. Also give a little boost (+2 or +4, usually never more than that)to the guitar here for added warmth if needed.
200hz - This is where the ďproximity effectĒ range is located, too much here and it will sound muddy and dull. For more transparency cut here.
250-500hz - Great vocal range, adds low-end or warmth to the vocals. Donít boost here too much though cause itĎs very close to the 200hz, you donĎt want muddiness when looking for warmth. You will also find the resonance of the drum heads and the body of an acoustic guitar around this area.
500-600hz - The body of the electric guitar, the clank of the hi-hat, and also great for toms if you donít use a lot of echo (reverb).
700-900hz - Great bass guitar frequency for it brings out the octave harmonics of the low notes. Making the bass line more distinguishable in pitch.
1-2khz - The BANG!! Awesome frequency for the snare. Boost here a bit but not too much for it can make the snare sound like hitting a cardboard tube. hehe
3khz - The excitement. Watch boosting here also as I said before. Gives the bass drum smack (mix well with 100hz to get an awesome bass drum sound.), Give boost to bass for more rhythm quality, give boost to guitar for more edge (be very careful with guitar in this range), adds excitement to vocals, adds power to toms, and bang of the crash cymbals.
5khz - Adds presence or brightness. Brings clarity to snare drum (boost for adding rhythm quality of the snare) another place to bring out the basses rhythmic qualities (great alternative for 3khz), sometimes vocals may need treatment here also.
7khz - Sibilants range. Stick hitting the toms, sibilants of the hi-hat, sometimes cut here a little on vocals to get rid of slushy vocals. Adds sparkle to the acoustic guitar.
10khz - Texture of the snare drum, splash or highs of the guitar, great for adding the sense of an acoustic environment to an acoustic guitar track.
10khz and above - predominantly the cymbals. Also to boost reverberation of a room and the sense of being surrounded by air.
Hope this helps.
02-16-2003, 11:36 PM
Kewl post! I think this new forum just 'hit one over the fence'! :D
02-17-2003, 08:44 AM
Noticingthemistake, awesome post Iím going to print it and put it on the wall behind my mixer !
How would you feel about turning it into an article for the newsletter ? I wouldn't take much work as all the good stuff is already in there ! Id publish it in the March Issue !
As far as the vocals go, well that is a long story.
Basically there are about 4 or 5 vocal tracks in the mix on each song. The main vox is double tracked and the main track is panned slightly to the left. The double track is panned all the way to the right. This emphasizes any phase contrast between the two as well as adding thickness.
The real trick was good microphone technique and not monkeying with the signal too much. I put a mat down on the floor to mark the position of my feet relitave to the mic stand. The backing vox are recorded using the same settings as the main vox (including my wifeís girly backing vox in dreaming (+lots of reverse reverb)). Whilst recording I nailed a towel to the wall (behind the mic) to deaden any reverb from the wall.
I didn't use any echo or reverb on me as it knocked my headphones mix to hell and made me sing sharp / flat. Also in the headphones mix I only used the click track, one guitar (to get pitch and mark my place as well as any other vox tracks. There is a little compression / de-essing on all of the vox but not too much ! I thought about adding some reverb / delay during mix down but thought I could get away with out it so left it alone.
As far as kit is concerned I did both songs using a Shure KSM44 going into a Behringer Ultravoice pro into the desk. I was using an SM57 into an ART V3 TPS into an ART EQ into a midiverb4 but that was just whey too many buttons !
02-17-2003, 10:21 AM
WOW! Thanx, and yeah it would be cool to post it in the next newsletter. You want mostly the stuff on target frequencies, right? If so, that's awesome. If anyone has any questions about those frequencies or just tips on how to approach them let me know and I'll add that too. I tried to make the last post short but to the point. I could explain alittle more if anyone feels something might be left out.
Simon, thanx for the tips on the vocals. I'll check it out especially the thought of the Ultravoice Pro. I was thinking about getting one of those and I think I just might go with that. The engineer I work with uses it also, and he always seems to get good production out of it. I do pretty much the same thing you do when recording. I also use a Shure KSM32 with a tube emulator, straight to the Korg D8 recorder, which has a 4-band paramteric EQ, Compressor/gate, low/high EQ, and de-esser all built in. Actually good effects for being a built-in. Then record it straight into my computer and do any addition editing with Soundforge and final mix it in Cubase VST 5.0.
I never apply reverb (echo) to anything until I'm ready to do the final mix. Reverb is used to create depth to the recording. So instead of just panning right or left, reverb gives you the ability of depth, or a 3D environment. So it's impossible to estimate how much to use when don't have the whole picture there.
02-17-2003, 12:06 PM
I had always thought of reverb as a way to cover up flat / sharp spots on vocal tracks ! The idea of using it to move vocal around spatially is new to me, I will try it...cool !
I have several bits of Behringer kit and all of them do what they say they will (as well as being reasonably priced) ! I really like the untravoice pro and for about 100 bucks you can go wrong ! Before I was using like 4 rack spaces of kit (preamp, EQ, Compressor, gate)and getting the same result.
As far as the newsletter goes, Id shoot for between 500 and 1000 words. I already think there is enough substance there to warrant putting it in however if you want to elaborate, well that would be great !
Cool beans !
02-17-2003, 01:24 PM
Originally posted by Dr_simon
I had always thought of reverb as a way to cover up flat / sharp spots on vocal tracks ![/B]
Actually you shouldn't settle for any flat/sharp points in the vocal track, or even rely on anything to cover it up. Sounds discouraging but there is an easy way around this, and I think your completely capable of doing this. It also saves time from trying to do vocals a billion times to get it exactly right. A good way to fix this is over-dub your vocals, or re-record by punching in and punching out bad lines. Since your using 4 tracks for vocals anyways this shouldn't be a problem. Record one track of vocals, then listen for anything that sounds off, simple mistakes, or something that doesn't sound right (maybe rhythm wasn't tight enough). Re-record that line on a different track until you get it right. Do this until you have corrected each line that was off. Then bounce both tracks down to a single track, replacing the bad lines with corrected line. This is even easier and will produce much better results if you have a digital recorder. Then you can just simply cut and paste the fixed line over the bad line, or punch-in and punch-out.
*Note - when you correct something, make sure you do the whole line over, not just a word or two. That will sound funny cause it will sound like when they cut out the foul language out in a movie on cable. Simply the words will not flow. If your worried about volume differences, it won't be a problem if you follow the same vocal arrangement and use compression. You can also use this for other instruments like guitar and bass, always punch in at the beginning of a measure and out at the beginning of the next measure. Always check the tracks right after recording, make corrections then. NOT next week, even a small bump on a settings and the part you fixed will not fit smoothly with the original track.
Originally posted by Dr_simon
The idea of using it to move vocal around spatially is new to me, I will try it...cool![/B]
The idea of reverb is simple. Take someone talking from one end of a train tunnel (as an example), while you stand and listen at the other end of the train tunnel. This effect can be reproduced by using Hall Reverb, and turning the reverb setting all the way up. :) Now if the guy stood about half-way in the tunnel, you would turn the reverb setting half-way to get this effect. Here's the simple rule with this example: Farther away the less original vocal and more reverb effect, closer the person the more original vocal the less reverb. Each reverb is named for the environment it simulates, like Hall is for long hallways, and Room is for a room simulation. The other settings are used to control the environment, like density, reflection, and room size. Reverb gives the listen the ability to place the band playing in a room or environment(3D rather than 2D), a must for good production. Gate reverb is a little different and it's used primarily for drums, if you need me to explain. Let me know. Plate reverb, which is my choice for vocals, produces a nice smooth and dense reverberation. It's doesn't necessarily give much distance, but enough to set it away from other instruments and keeping it still upfront where you want it. The only instruments you donít want to use reverb on is, the bass guitar and bass drum. You want these instruments to be sharp and impactful, not buried in a distance or reverb. Plus reverb isnít good for low-end instruments because the effect produces a cloudy Ďwooohsí.
About the newsletter, give me a couple of days to revise it, maybe see if anyone has any questions before I send you the final copy.
Hope this helps and cheers to you too.
02-17-2003, 02:34 PM
Cool, I was about try composite vocals tracks, however suddenly and unexpectedly it all came together with the double tracking thing ! I will let you know how the D1600 compares with the Tascam 4 track fir vocals, Iím off to write some more songs !
This has given me plenty to think about...excellent !
02-17-2003, 04:26 PM
Awesome! Let me know if you run into any problems, I'll do what I can to help.
Here's some very good tips:
1. Always keep a log of every project you do. Write down everything you do from start to finish. Like what settings and EQ you used on the guitar, to the EQ you applied to the final mix. Write everything down step by step as you work though the project. Now when I mean everything I don't mean, "ahh. I picked up a chord and plugged it in." lol. :D You know what I mean. This will drastically increase your engineering skills cause once you finish the project. You can look back at it and say, "well I really like what I did here." Now, you can easily read your log and see exactly how you did it. Same thing if you don't like how something turned out. You can go back see what you did and most of the time figure out how to fix it before the next project. Once you've done a couple of projects you should be figuring out exactly how to get the sound you want. You will learn a lot faster and be more consistant by doing this, cause learning how to engineer has to be done on your own. It is a trial and error process, so keep a log.
2. Also another good tip for learning quickly is to listen to some songs that have an awesome production and learn from them. When your doing a final mix, contrast and compare your recording to that recording. Your probably saying, ďyeah rightď, but hereís what I mean. First, run your monitor out's into your Aux in's on your stereo. Make sure your CD player is connected to your stereo. Put the Cd in and push play. Listen to the cd then go back and listen to the monitor mix on your recording. Try to get it as close to sounding like the cd as you can by switching back and forth. Once you think you have gotten as close as you can; your sure to have a great final product. Now you can't get it exactly like the cd, because the cd was mastered which is a completely different ball game. You can get rather close and what your looking for in how each instrument sounds, volume and EQ levels, and how everything is laid out in the song. Have fun!
P.S. Always do the mix through speakers (monitors), NOT headphones(not even the kick-arse ones). They do not produce the spectrum of sound accurately enough and most listen to music through speakers anyways. You will get a better mix.
02-17-2003, 05:56 PM
Headphones are a big problem, I find I cant "hear" pitch accurately even when Iím using like Sony MDR-7509. The vocals sound great in the headphones but suck through the monitors. I figure there are two possible solutions to this problem:
1) Plug one monitor in "out of phase" with the other and put the mic dead center between them. The monitors phase cancel each other out in the vocal track whilst you can hear everything perfectly whilst singing. I havenít tried this however I got the idea from a recording magazine !
2) Using the mute switch on the headphone preamp I can kill one side of the headphones and hold the active side to my ear. This allows me to "hear" myself out side the headphone mix whilst keeping the monitor sound out of the mic. This seems to work !
02-17-2003, 11:05 PM
Iíd go with the second one to fix the problem, a lot of producers advice this one also. Even if you have a vocal booth, it helps with vocal articulation. Your more used to hearing yourself sing without using headphones, so this is probably why you have a hard time being sensitive to vocal pitch. Even some singers will press one finger against the ear to help, Iím sure you have noticed this at some point. In this case it would be the headphones of course.
I havenít even heard of the first one. Seems like a lot of work, I mean how would you get one monitor out of phrase with the other? Second, having the monitors on while recording the vocal track is quite risky. You really donít want any sound but the singing when recording the vocal track. I know some producers will even strictly make you remove stuff like jewelry and shoes, cause it produces too much sound. Noise Gate can limit this to some point but you want the vocals to sound as natural as possible, even compressor is sometimes a delicate application.
When getting ready to record you should use the monitors to get the settings right. If you get the monitor mix down the headphone mix will sound great too. It doesnít work the other way around. Since with vocals you canít really do both singing and mixing at the same time. Hereís an idea. My situation may be a little different but you should be able to figure how to work it in your own situation. Now hereís what I do, I record a vocal track straight into the recorder with no effects or EQ adjustments. Then I go back and use my effects send on the vocal track and then mix it with the music. Save the settings, then go back and do the vocal track with the effects and EQ adjustments. This saves a lot of time of going back and forth singing a little, then mixing, then singing a little, ahh you get the point.
02-18-2003, 06:56 AM
Phase reversal involves plugging the red input into the white socket for the "reversed" speaker whilst keeping the red in the red for the "normal" speaker. I am still quite scared of this method as I just donít trust the idea of total phase cancellation !
02-18-2003, 09:44 AM
Whoa! That doesn't seem right at all. :confused: The red inputs are for the positive and the white for the negative. It's just like a battery, I would persume. So yeah I agree, I wouldn't try it unless you have seen someone that does this, and their monitors haven't blown.
02-18-2003, 11:02 AM
Reversing the connections on one of the speakers is not, repeat not likely to harm anything.
But consider this: if the phase cancellation was effective, you would not be able to hear anything! If the phase cancellation at the microphone (near your mouth, right?) was total, it would also be total at your ears, because the wave-length at audio frequencies is several feet long.
02-18-2003, 11:42 AM
Check this out, the bit Im on about is on page 4:
02-18-2003, 01:38 PM
I still find it a difficult proposition. A microphone like a shure KSM 44 can pick up the sound of a pin hitting the floor. They are just too sensitive to try to use the monitors while singing. If you can hear the monitors the mic is going to pick it up too. The big problem with this is when you go to EQ the vocals, since the frequencies from the monitor will mix in with the recorded vocal. You'll find yourself trying to boost a frequency but your picking up a mix of vocal and monitor. I still like the headphone proposition.
I was thinking on this a little, you could try using a different mic for vocals. Like a SM57 works great, and won't pick up the monitors as much as a KSM44. Just a thought.
02-18-2003, 01:49 PM
I agree, just a thought. I also find that with the 44, you have to be careful (even using closed headphones) of feedback loops ! I can imagine small glass objects exploding quite unexpectedly using the monitors on approach !
02-21-2003, 05:10 PM
Haha, yeah and you probably won't be able to have kids either. Simon, feedback from the headphones shouldn't be a problem even using a mic like that. Your vocals should drownd out the headphones rather easily if your headphones aren't up to loud. :) You will always hear it alittle bit when your not singing; to get rid of it just apply some noise gate. Make sure your threshold is 'just' cutting out the headphones or any other unwanted background noise(usually -15 to -20db, also fast attack and slow decay). Too much threshold and you'll effect the vocals which you don't want to do. If your still picking up the headphones at -15db , you probably got them up too loud.
The volume of the headphones should be at a comfortable volume. I know alot of people always want to turn it up above that, and believe it or not it will effect your singing. Too loud and it will force you to sing louder and as a result you'll usually be sharp. Too low and you'll be flat. You sing better when you sing at the volume you also clearly speak at. Your vocals will also be more powerful too, since they'll be clearer and more present. Singing louder makes you sing sharp, which is singing out of tune, which makes you disappear in the music. Samething will happen if you sing too low.
03-07-2003, 02:11 PM
I like Dreaming, and the lyrics too.. but since my english isn't so good, i was wondering if u can post the lyrics here ?!
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